Junior Youth: Genesis to Jesus 4: Moses & the Law

Contributed by: Charlie Baker, Diocese of Auckland

GenesistoJesusThis is the fourth in a series exploring the key people and stories of the Old Testament, and how they point the way to Jesus.

weird laws game show

Divide your youth into teams, and get each group to decide on a noise which they will use as their buzzer.

Round One

They need to be the first team to correctly guess whether the following laws are from A) America, B) the Old Testament, or C) another country.

  1. It is illegal to leave your house if you are not wearing underwear. (C- Thailand)
  2. It is illegal to cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip the edges of your beard (B – Lev 19:27)
  3. It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit. (A – Florida)
  4. It is illegal to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in church. (A – Alabama)
  5. It is illegal to wear clothes made of more than one fabric (B – Lev 19)
  6. It is illegal to rob a bank and then shoot at the bank teller with a water pistol. (A – Louisana)
  7. It is illegal to be drunk and in possession of a cow. (Scotland)
  8. It is illegal to wear hot pink shorts after midday on a Sunday. (Australia)
  9. It is illegal to throw a ball at someone’s head for fun. (New York)
  10. It is illegal to deliberately trip up someone who is blind (Lev 19)

Round Two

For this round, get them to write their answers on paper.

  1. Name all 10 commandments (Answer: See Exodus 20. Award 1 point for each correct answer)
  2. How many laws did God give Moses? (Answer: 613 commands – the team with the closest guess wins the point)
  3. In which books of the Bible do we find all the laws that God gave the Israelites? (Answer: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy  – award 1 point for each correct answer)

Total up all the scores and give a prize to the winning team.

Moses & the law

Explain that “The Law” in the Bible isn’t just the 10 commandments, but it also includes a whole lot more laws. “The Law” refers to the first 5 books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. In these books, we find more than 600 laws that God gave to the Israelites. Some of those laws may seem crazy to us, while some of them are just plain sensible, and some of them are essential for a society to function properly.

Read Exodus 19:1-8

Ask: What was the point of all those laws? (Out of all the people in the world, God was using these laws to form the Israelites as his special, chosen people)

Explain that the laws are about having a covenant relationship with God: not to achieve righteousness but understanding what it means to be God’s people. The law is not about what we do but whose we are – God’s. It’s about having faith in God and living out the law in response to that.

So that was the point BUT the Israelites misunderstood the law and misused the law.

Read Romans 9:31-32A

Ask: How did they miss the point? (They thought it was their obedience to the law that made them right before God. They forgot that it was faith that was important – faith like Abraham. It was faith that made them right before God. The law was given to help them live out their faith, as God’s people.)

Jesus & the Law

But the main point of the law was to point to JESUS. Let’s listen to what Jesus himself had to say about this

Read Matthew 5:17-20. Jesus said that he came not to get rid of the law but to fulfil it.

Ask: What do you think Jesus meant by that?

Explain that the Israelites misunderstood the point of the law and failed to keep it. Jesus lived out what the law was actually about. He knew what God really intended by it. So he was the living walking breathing embodiment of the law. He fulfilled the law.

The law tried to show people what it meant to live as God’s people. Jesus himself ultimately was the one who could show what it meant to live as God’s people by who he was. The law pointed to him. 

Legal Scenarios

In groups of 3 or 4, get them to come act out a realistic scenario in which someone is challenged about obeying that commandment. They need to come up with a realistic ending for the story which keeps the law.

After each one, discuss: e.g. who would get hurt if they didn’t keep God’s law?

Response

There’s two attitudes we can have:

1 “How much bad stuff can I get away with – but still keep within the rules?”. This was what lots of the Israelites thought. I’m sure that we have thought that at times too.

2 “The rules are too basic, how much good stuff can I do?”. This is the kind of attitude that Jesus had. And this is what he helps us do by his Holy Spirit.

Keeping God’s law is not something we can do in our own strength, but God gives us his Holy Spirit to help us live as Jesus did.

Remind them of the 10 commandments once more, and invite them to think of a specific commandment that they struggle to keep. Have a time of prayer and reflection as they seek God’s help to obey his commands – use Tinfoil prayers here as a way of focusing their prayers.